Every year in the United States it is estimated that approximately 1.4 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury which can disrupt the function of the brain. The severity of a TBI can range from a mild concussion to the extremes of coma or even death. Research indicates that at least 5.3 million Americans are currently living with disabilities resulting from TBI. The leading causes of brain injuries are:
- Motor Vehicle accidents and crashes
- Birth injuries
- Slips and/or falls
- Medical malpractice
Traumatic Brain Injuries – An Overview
A catastrophic brain injury usually occurs suddenly and without warning. Brain injuries that are considered catastrophic, due to the enormous impact they have on the lives of the individuals who experience them, include traumatic brain injury as well as a spinal cord injury and other neurological disorders.
A traumatic injury very often causes severe disruption to the central nervous system, which in turn affects many other systems of the body. In addition to possible loss of movement, sensation, and communicative and cognitive abilities, the injury or illness may impact respiration, circulation, skin, the urinary system, the gastrointestinal system, and other body systems. Management of such an injury is complex and requires the expertise of a team of health professionals including neurologists, physicians, consultants, nurses, therapists, and counselors. Clearly, the long-term needs of someone who has experienced this type of injury far surpass those of individuals with less severe injuries. Individuals may recover from some brain injuries if they receive proper, early medical treatment; however, others may experience permanent disability, significant suffering, and even reduced life spans.
Who Is Responsible?
Determining who may be responsible for traumatic brain injuries can sometimes be difficult. There typically is one party directly involved at the scene. However, there may be several other less obvious parties whose conduct played a role in causing your TBI. Catastrophic head and spinal cord injuries usually cause the victim to suffer extensive monetary damages. Therefore, it is important to identify everyone who may be responsible so that complete justice may be done. An attorney experienced in handling catastrophic head injury cases knows how to investigate the facts of a case and to learn the identities of every responsible party.
Any party who bears possible liability for your TBI should be investigated. Every case is, of course, different, and the exact identities of the responsible parties will depend on the facts of your particular case.
Specific Types of TBI
There are many common, yet devastating, head injuries that necessitate the expertise of an attorney, knowledgeable in brain injury claims, to obtain adequate financial compensation for the injured individual.
Informed Consent in Cases of Medical Malpractice
If you suffered a TBI as the result of a medical procedure or medication, the concept of informed consent will likely arise in any claim for your injuries that you bring against a medical professional. In many situations where medical care or treatment is provided to an individual, medical professionals are required to obtain the patient’s “informed consent.” Although the specific definition of informed consent may vary from state to state, it means essentially that a physician (or other medical provider) must tell a patient all of the potential benefits, risks, and alternatives involved in any surgical procedure, medical procedure, or other course of treatment, and must obtain the patient’s written consent to proceed.
Motorcycle Accidents: Helmet Laws
A helmet is by far the most important and most effective piece of protective equipment a motorcycle driver or passenger can wear. Helmets save lives by reducing the extent of head injuries in the event of a traffic accident. A helmetless motorcyclist involved in an accident is three times as likely to suffer a brain injury as a motorcyclist wearing a helmet.
Motorcycle Accidents: Protective Equipment
The best way to avoid bringing a claim for the devastating brain injuries that can result from a motorcycle accident is to never be injured in a motorcycle accident in the first place. Easier said than done? Well, the bad news is that motorcycle riders involved in accidents face a much greater risk of TBI than automobile drivers, and motorcycle riders can never be kept completely safe from injury in an accident. The good news is that developments in protective equipment can make motorcycle riders much safer than in the past, provided they take advantage of those developments.